Athletics

National Athletics League ready for season finale

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Thames Valley Harriers in pole position ahead of the final round of Premiership fixtures

This weekend (Aug 5) sees the third and final round of matches in the National Athletics League with Thames Valley Harriers aiming to retain the overall title.

The Valley go into their final match a point clear of Harrow but have to travel to Glasgow with only Woodford Green with Essex Ladies, from the top six in the standings, challenging. They will be looking once again to their banker Amelia Strickler, one of the recipients of a National Athletics League athletes of the year award in 2022 a likely starter.

Second-placed Harrow will hope that Thames Valley slip up but themselves have a tougher match at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham against four other top six clubs – Blackheath & Bromley, Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow and Sale. To overturn the order and unseat the holders, Harrow will hope to notch up 25 more event points than their rivals who will also have not to win in Glasgow.

In the Premiership basement, Chelmsford and Crawley have found the going tough and will definitely drop down to the Championship for 2024.

This year, the Championship leaders are Tonbridge, who have two match points and an event points advantage over second placed Belgrave Harriers, with Cardiff and Basingstoke & Mid Hants also a fair tip for promotion to the Premiership.

Tonbridge have dominated their two opening matches and, along with rivals Belgrave, travel to Liverpool’s home match at Wavertree.

The other Championship match is at Kings Park Bournemouth and sees third and fourth placed Cardiff and Basingstoke, currently both with 13 points, seeking the ‘brownie points’ offered for a third placed league finish.

One of the sad features of the Championship matches this year has been the dearth of hurdlers and steeplechasers and the clubs being promoted to the top flight for 2023 will find such omissions a problem.

At the bottom of the Championship, only Peterborough & Nene Valley are a certain candidate for the drop into National 1 next year.

They are likely to be replaced by either the current leaders there, Yate, or hosts Milton Keynes who host this final match at the Stantonbury track in Milton Keynes.

Niamh Bridson-Hubbard (National Athletics League)

Premiership standings after 2 matches: 1 TVH 16 (1194); 2 Harrow 15 (1170); 3 WG&EL 15 (958); 4 B&B 13 (941); 5 WSEH 13 (907); 6 Sale 11 (916); 7 Glasgow 11 (838); 8 Birchfield 9 (806); 9 Shaftesbury 9 (803); 10 Sheffield 7 (775); 11 Trafford 7 (742); 12 Notts 6 (646); 13 Swansea 5 (749); 14 NEB 4 (44); 15 Chelmsford 3 (591); 16 Crawley 2 (533)

Championship standings after 2 matches: 1 Tonbridge 16 (1203); 2 Belgrave 14 (925); 3 Cardiff 13 (1024); 4 BHM 13 (962); 5 Havering 10 (931); 6 Kingston & P 10 (839); 7 Yeovil 10 (821); 8 Soton 9 (791); 9 Bed C 9 (715); 10 Herts P 8 (784); 11 Liverpool 7 (684); 12 Bournemouth 6 (724); 13 Portsmouth 6 (681); 14 Herne H 5 (674); 15 Bristol & W 5 (660); 16 P’boro & NV 2 (395)

National 1 standings after 2 matches: 1 Yate 14 (994); 2 Milton Keynes 14 (826); 3 Reading 12 (798); 4 Wigan 11 (714); 5 Enfield 9 (521)

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